The Mardi Himal Trek is a classic choice for those who are looking for ‘off the beaten path’ trekking experience in the quieter area of the Annapurna region of Nepal. It is a newly opened route and hidden treasure of the Annapurna region. This trek offer amazing views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchre and Manaslu ranges. Mardi Himal base camp, Sidhing village and Lwang are the major attraction of this trek.
After landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Adventure Ascent representative will be there to greet you and take you to the hotel. We will then check-in at the hotel, freshen up and take a rest. Welcome dinner will be hosted in the evening. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After introduction with the city tour guide at the hotel you will begin your tour to Pashupatinath temple, Swayambhunath stupa and Bouddhanath stupa, which are all world heritage sites. Pashupatinath temple is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for all Hindus. Swayambhunath is also known as the Monkey Temple and Baudhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in the world. After the tour you will meet with your trekking guide, briefing about the trek and checking your trek gears will be done afterwards. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After breakfast we begin our Mardi Himal Journey driving 200km to Pokhara and it takes about 6-7 hours from Kathmandu by tourist bus. It is an exciting drive that we can enjoy beautiful scenic view of terraced rice field, eye catching landscape, Trisuli and Marsyangdi Rivers and spectacular panoramic view of Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, Lamjung Himal and most of Annapurna Himalayan Range are seen. The tourist coach stops for breakfast at 09:00 am and at around 12:00 for lunch on the way to Pokhara. Or you can just take domestic flight to Pokhara.
Today we drive half an hour to Phedi and start our trek to Pothana at the elevation of 1810m. The trail is steep until Dhampus and pleasant easy walk up to Pothana, where you stay in a teahouse lodge.
We start our second day of trek from Pothana where you walk up to a place called Pitam Deurali where you will turn off the main Annapurna Sanctuary trek and continue along a quiet trail through a dense forest of oak, maple, hemlock and rhododendron. Tonight we stay at one of the lodges in a clearing of the forest at Forest Camp or also known by the locals as Kokar. The lodges at Kokar are quite basic and there is no dining room so you will probably have meals in kitchen with the owner, so in some ways this is more like a homestay and is a good opportunity to get to know this friendly family from Siding village.
The trail continues from Forest Camp to Low Camp through the forest however as we ascend, the vegetation starts to change with more rhododendron and the trees are covered with moss, lichen and tree ferns. At Low Camp there are two basic lodges one with a dining room with open fire. The view from Low Camp is superb as we can see Mount Machhapuchhre up the valley.
An hour or so above Low Camp the trail breaks out above tree line and towards the west there is a good view to Annapurna South and Hiunchuli. The trail continues along the Mardi Himal ridge mainly on grass with some isolated rhododendron bushes along the way. Look out for the colourful Danphe (national bird of Nepal) pheasant on this section of the trail. The lodge at High Camp is larger than lodges at Low Camp and Forest Camp, this one has eight rooms and a separate dining room with heater. The view from the lodge is superb to Annapurna South, Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail).
Today we wake up early for sunrise view of the mountains then after an early breakfast walk up to the ridge towards Mardi Himal Base Camp. There is a well-established trail through the grass with a couple of steeper sections however overall not too challenging. Look out for the dzokpo (yak/ cow crossbreds) grazing up here as well as Danphe pheasant. In the summer the sheep and goats from lower villages are brought up to graze in this area so you will pass a number of herder’s huts along the way. After three hours you should reach Base Camp at the elevation of 4500m this is where one can look into the Annapurna Sanctuary and the panorama view is spectacular looking at south face of Annapurna and all of the peaks in the Sanctuary as well as Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail).
On the way back we take a different route to complete a circuit, from Low Camp there is a trail that goes down to Siding village rather than going back down Mardi Himal back to Kokar. Siding is a traditional Nepalese village and still very much away from the busier modern tourist treks and it is likely you will stay at a homestay in Siding owned by the person who runs one of the lodges at Low Camp. It is a wonderful cultural experience finding out more about village life and you will probably eat dhal baht in the evening with the family in their kitchen.
From Siding you walk out to the road head at Lumre, on the way from Siding you will pass the villages of Kalimati and Ghalel. Kalimati is mainly a Brahmin village with Ghalel and Siding mixed Brahmin and Gurung. At Lumre you will meet jeep organised by Wilderness Excursion in advance to drive you back to Pokhara.
We take the tourist bus to Kathmandu and have lunch on the way. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you can just relax or go for spa or massage to relieve all the pain from your body.
This day will be an extra buffer day or regarded as contingency day, just in case of emergency or unseen events. You can utilize this day by doing some souvenirs shopping or do some more sightseeing of the historical valley – Kathmandu. We will have farewell dinner in the evening.
Our adventure in Nepal ends today. An Adventure Ascent representative will drop you off at the Tribhuwan International Airport a few hours before the scheduled flight for final departure towards your sweet home.